Writer Wang Xue CAIRO (Xinhua) -- For Song Lina, a
Chinese mother of a six-year-old boy and owner of a popular
restaurant in Cairo, capital of Egypt, the Mid-Autumn Festival has
“a special meaning” this year as traditional mooncakes are served
for the first time at her restaurant.
Waking up in the early morning, she
has been busy all day preparing this special Chinese dessert,
mooncakes, for the traditional festival of get-togetherness.
Falling this year on Sept. 15, the
Mid-Autumn Festival falls yearly on the 15th day
of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is
full, as a special occasion for family reunion.
The joyful festival is celebrated with
family dinner gatherings under the fullest and brightest
moonlight while sweet homemade mooncakes stuffed with
different kinds of nuts are served.
“I have been in Egypt for 11 years,”
Song told Xinhua, adding that “the Mid-Autumn Festival
always recalls my childhood memories, when I spent the
evening with family and ate the nut-stuffed mooncakes,
so this year I’ve decided to make the dessert myself to
serve my Chinese customers here.”
Taking a pallet of hot and savory
mooncakes out of the oven, the lady said that she bought all
the ingredients from the Egyptian local markets and that
every single piece was baked by her own family “with the
(Xinhua) -- Pastry cooks make moon cakes at a
Chinese restaurant in Cairo. Moon cake is a Chinese bakery
product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival,
which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month
of the lunar calendar.
XINHUA PHOTO: MENG TAO
“Surprisingly, I have sold thousands
of those mooncakes till now and the dessert has not only been
welcomed by Chinese customers but also popular among Egyptians
as well,” Song added excitedly.
At Song’s Ruyi Fang restaurant in
Cairo’s Maadi district, Nada Tarek, an Egyptian girl, came to buy
mooncakes. The girl turned out to be a student of Cairo University
majoring in Chinese language.
Tarek told Xinhua that she learned in
class about the Mid-Autumn Festival and she was really curious about
the mooncakes, so she came to buy some to share with friends during
the traditional Chinese reunion occasion.
“Stuffed with nuts and dried fruits,
the dessert really looks nice and tastes good,” the young woman
said after taking a bite of a mooncake.
“Similar to the Chinese culture, we
Egyptians also value our families, so I hope all the Chinese
people living in Egypt feel at home,” she said.
For Han Peng, a Chinese young man who
works at the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone,
spending the festival away from home makes him work harder.
“The growing Chinese-Egyptian
relations urged more Chinese youth including myself to come to
Egypt in search for opportunities, and the projects supported by
both governments really give young people a large space for
career development,” Han told Xinhua.
“I really miss home,” the young man
continued, explaining that he has been in Egypt for about two
years and a half and his Chinese Tianjin TEDA company will
organize a dinner gathering for its entire Chinese staff in
Egypt for the traditional festival.
“A dinner party and mooncakes will
make everybody happy and forget about homesickness,” he said
with a smile.
As the pleasant full-moon evening was
approaching, Song was still busy chopping, boiling, steaming and
grilling the food at her restaurant whose little yard smelt just
like a Chinese mom’s kitchen.
“Besides mooncakes, we also serve
typical Chinese cuisine, such as smoked chicken, fried shrimps
and Chinese lamb chops. This festival is about sharing and
reunion and I really hope my costumers will spend a nice evening
in my kingdom,” Song said, referring to her restaurant.
“With mooncakes for the first time in
my restaurant, this year’s festival is really more like a
traditional one,” she told Xinhua.